Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)—2008

OCTELA joins the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Ohio legislature in promoting the improvement of the teaching of science and math and in encouraging study in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

OCTELA believes that the priorities of STEM—problem-solving, independent thinking, innovation, and literacy—are also the priorities of English/language arts (ELA) and that the foundation for building knowledge in STEM disciplines is based in the language arts and human sciences. Developing communication strategies, navigating texts, synthesizing and manipulating ideas and data, accessing information, and critical thinking are literacies shared with English/language arts and the other core academic content areas in Ohio. To encourage the strength of interdisciplinary instruction in all academic content areas, OCTELA recommends that STEM initiatives serve to strengthen the relationships among Ohio’s core disciplines, rather than create exclusionary models of STEM-focused curricula.

New STEM-specialized schools are neither necessary nor desired to achieve these goals.

Because technology is important to building knowledge in our global society, access to it must be equitable and not exclusionary. To fully utilize technology, however, all children must be competent readers and writers, and all teachers must work to integrate, not isolate, the literacy skills of their disciplines that will enable all students to express themselves and build upon their understandings of the world.

For many years, ELA educators have worked to move away from viewing content knowledge as information to be passed on and as a limited set of skills to be mastered in discrete content “silos.” Instead, OCTELA endorses a constructivist approach to learning where teachers plan active, learner-centered opportunities for students to exercise reading, writing, and thinking processes and problem-solving skills, while engaging in inquiry and innovation in all of the core academic content areas.